Former Chinese Official Accused Of Corruption Arrested Again In Sweden
A Chinese ex-official who had been accused of embezzling millions of dollars and money laundering has been arrested in Sweden under orders from the US government. The arrest occurred just days after the fugitive was released following his Chinese extradition hearing in Sweden's Supreme Court.
Qiao Jianjun is currently one of China's most wanted criminals and the subject of a global manhunt. Qiao is believed to be one of a number of ex-government officials that had fled the country with ill-gotten wealth. The fugitive had been on the run since 2011.
He was eventually tracked down in Sweden and arrested by authorities last year under an extradition request from China.
Qiao is being accused by the Chinese government of engaging in fraudulent transactions during his time as the head of grain storage facilities. While he was the director of the country's grain storehouses, Qiao allegedly transferred millions of dollars out of China. One of the transactions was a transfer of about $500,000, which was used to buy a property in Newcastle, Washington.
His latest arrest was made at the behest of US authorities who had launched their own case against Qiao. The US Justice Department had charged Qiao several crimes, including money laundering, immigration fraud, and international transport of stolen funds in 2015.
According to Swedish prosecutors, authorities in the country were given a notice from the US for the arrest and extradition of Qiao.
Qiao's lawyer in Sweden, Henrik Olsson Lilja, stated in an interview that his client has denied all of the charges against him by US authorities. Lilja also stated that they will be contesting the US' extradition request. Qiao was arrested on Sunday in the Stockholm district of Racksta after Swedish authorities had issued an order for his arrest. The former Chinese official is currently being held inside a detention center in Solna.
Sweden's Supreme Court made a preliminary decision last week that denied Qiao's extradition to China. The same court has yet to make a decision on Qiao's extradition to the United States. District courts are reportedly still conducting their preliminary evaluations on the matter. Qiao is currently being held under a "provisional arrest" pending his hearing on the US' extradition request.
Qiao's predicament is seen by some experts as a new frontier within the ongoing dispute between China and the United States. Both countries are currently fighting for the custody of the same criminal suspect, which places the third country holding the suspect in a very difficult position.